capsule review

Plustek MobileOffice AD450: Reasonably Priced but Slow Scanner

At a Glance
  • Plustek MobileOffice AD450

    PCWorld Rating

    The small MobileOffice AD450 produces good-looking images, but lack of speed is its weakness

Plustek MobileOffice AD450 document scanner
Weighing just 2.87 pounds, the $270 (as of February 1, 2011) Plustek MobileOffice AD450 is the smallest and least-expensive portable scanner we tested in our latest batch. This 600-dpi model handles up to 20 pages in its automatic document feeder, performs double-sided page scanning, and provides good image quality in scanning a variety of documents. But its scanning speed is sluggish in comparison with other models we tried.

On our performance tests, the AD450 was the slowest of the five scanners in our roundup. That didn't surprise us, however, considering that Plustek rates the AD450 as only a 6-ppm scanner (when processing single-sided color pages at 200 dpi), versus the 15-ppm specification (same parameters) of the three fastest models. The AD450 took 193 seconds to scan a double-sided, 15-page, monochrome text-only document at 200 dpi, far behind the group average of 86 seconds for the same test. In scanning color documents it was equally slow: It required 46 seconds to scan a double-sided, 6-page, color text-and-graphics document at 150 dpi, versus the group average of 24 seconds for the same test. Running on USB power, the AD450 needed a total of 97 seconds to scan two color and two monochrome (both single- and double-sided) pages, as opposed to 67.5 seconds for the next-fastest model (the Visioneer Strobe 500).

The AD450 scored much better in image-quality tests, for which it received a Very Good rating (using its default settings). In color-document scans it rendered accurate color tones and solid readable text, though some areas containing graphics were slightly darker and had less detail than the original did. Its scans of monochrome and grayscale documents exhibited easily readable text and good details in line art and other graphics.

Measuring roughly 11 by 4 by 3 inches (width by depth by height), the AD450 is about the same size as a 3-pound Duraflame fire log. The scanner is easy to install and use: It has three quick-start buttons (Scan, PDF, BCR), and it requires no assembly since its extendable output tray and paper guides are permanently attached. When not in use, the collapsible AD450 folds up nicely. For added convenience, Plustek tosses in a carrying bag for taking the scanner on the road; also included are a power cord and power supply, a USB cable, and a USB power cord.

Plustek covers all the bases with the large software bundle it provides for the AD450. It includes NewSoft Presto PageManager 7 for document management, ABBYY FineReader 6.0 Sprint Plus for optical character recognition, Hotcard BizCard Finder 3 for business-card recognition, and NewSoft Presto ImageFolio 4 for image editing. In our tests of the OCR software, it did a satisfactory job of converting assorted documents into editable text--but while it was proficient at accurately reproducing simple, text-only pages (such as a list of book titles), it wasn't as adept at replicating complex text-and-graphics layouts (such as a three-column magazine page). The AD450's BCR software was reasonably useful in converting business cards into an editable database, but accuracy was an issue; we found it necessary to fix more typos here than we did with most of the BCR software for other scanners in our test batch.

Overall, the lightweight Plustek MobileOffice AD450 is a reasonably priced portable scanner that's capable of producing good-quality images, but it's much slower than many other models.

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    The small MobileOffice AD450 produces good-looking images, but lack of speed is its weakness

    Pros

    • Small, compact size
    • Good-quality images

    Cons

    • Sluggish performance
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